Argos Pull Off Last Minute 30-24 Victory in Nova Scotia

Andrew Dixon
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Argonauts and Roughriders made the trip to Nova Scotia for the CFL's Touchdown Atlantic program and fans were treated to an exciting contest. 

It took a while for the excitement to really build as both teams committed to ground and pound game plans early that struggled to move the ball effectively. The first quarter finished with Saskatchewan ahead 4-0 after a Brett Lauther single and a made field goal. 

Tensions continued to rise all afternoon and it seemed as though no one was safe from engaging in after-the-whistle extracurriculars. Whether or not this led to the more aggressive, downfield play calls that followed I'm unsure, but there were 27 total points scored in the second quarter. 

McLeod Bethel-Thompson quickly found DaVaris Daniels from seven yards out on the quarter's second play for Toronto's first points of the match. Cody Fajardo and the Riders drove down the field and set up a 30-yard Lauther field goal on the ensuing drive, but not without a bit of controversy. 

Two plays before Lauther knocked through the 30 yarder, Argonaut defensive lineman Shawn Oakman sacked Fajardo for a six yard loss. Oakman took down the Riders signal caller while on the ground and looked to be twisting at the quarterback's legs to get him to fall. No penalties were called on the field which led to a challenge that was unsuccessful and a lot of disagreement from the broadcast team. 

Toronto would drive back down the field, using up more than five minutes of clock, before a busted coverage left Cameron Phillips wide open for a 40-yard score. With just under two and a half minutes left on the clock, the Boatmen were hoping to get a stop and keep the Riders off the scoreboard. Saskatchewan drove for a quick field goal and actually left enough time on the clock for Toronto to add a field goal of their own as time expired in the second quarter. 

Entering halftime the Argos were now up 17-14. 

Boris Bede would knock through a 41-yard field goal on the first drive of the third quarter to extend their lead. This kick was the only scoring play of the third quarter as the two teams continued to look for exploitable holes that just weren't there on most plays. 

John Haggerty would add a single early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 21-14, giving the Boatmen a touchdown and converted PAT lead. A short drive, capped off by a 32-yard TD by Duke Williams and a Lauther convert, would erase the Argonaut lead entirely. 

A two and out on the ensuing Toronto possession had the double blue faithful concerned. Momentum was at risk of completely swinging to the Riders' side. Luckily, the defence was able to hold Saskatchewan to a field goal with just under five minutes remaining on the clock. 

DaVaris Daniels would pick up 34 yards on the first play of the next Argonaut possession, but an incompletion and a gain of just one yard on the next couple of plays had Toronto settling for a field goal attempt. Boris Bede lined up from 42 yards out and had the ball shoot wide left, only netting the Argonauts a single.

Now trailing by two points with just about three minutes remaining, the Boatmen needed to make a play and the defence delivered. As quarterback Cody Fajardo dropped back and targetted a receiver to his right, a double blue blur came in and cut off the pass. Linebacker Wynton McManis had played a bit more outside than Fajardo was expecting which let him undercut the pass and take it to the house for a defensive score. McLeod Bethel-Thompson would find Brandon Banks on the two point attempt to give Toronto a six point lead. 

With just under two minutes remaining, the Roughriders were far from out of the game. They would pick up a total of 34 yards on their first four plays before back to back nightmares. First, Robbie Smith got home for a sack on Fajardo. Second, Fajardo would throw a ball a bit high on the next play that was tipped and picked off by Shaq Richardson, sealing the 30-24 Argonaut victory. 

McLeod Bethel-Thompson finished the game 26/37 with 276 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Andrew Harris had 39 yards on 15 carries and passed Milt Stegal on the all-time scrimmage yardage list in this matchup. Receiver Cameron Phillips caught all six of his targets for 94 yards and a major. Defensively, the Argonauts had five total sacks and three interceptions. 

Cody Fajardo threw for 284 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a trio of picks on 24/34 passing. Jamal Morrow led the way on the ground, rushing for 77 yards on 11 carries. With a 7/96/0 line Kian Schaffer-Baker led the Roughrider receivers. On the other side of the ball they had no quarterback sacks and one interception by Blace Brown.

Toronto improves to 2-2 on the season while Saskatchewan drops to 4-2. These two teams will face off against one another yet again on July 23rd at 7:00pm eastern.